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Art and Vincentian prayer in Lent

by | Mar 4, 2014 | Daughters of Charity, Spirituality and Spiritual Practice | 2 comments

LaCapria introGospel of Joy – Community Seal – Lenten reflections
 How can one reflect on Pope Francis’ beautiful document “Joy of the Gospel” ( Evangelii Gaudium) via  prayerful  contemplation of a series of images rooted in the Charity Charism motto “The charity of Christ urges us”?
Sr. Ellen LaCapria  begins  offering a series of Visual reflections rooted in the theme “The Charity of Christ Urges Us while living the Joy of the Gospel today.” She shares her way of praying through her art.

An accomplished artist and credentialed art therapist,  she has deeply reflected on “The charity of Christ Urges us!” and used her artistic gifts as vehicle in a kind of Vincentian Visio Divina  or practice of viewing art prayerfully to grow closer to God. This is another way to walk in the footsteps of  our founders who many do not realize were more mystics than we realize. See more on the mysticism of our Vincentian Mystical tradition with insights from Sr. Gert Foley, SC.

Her introduction to the series… (Explanation of the Series (PDF))

A Series of Reflections

The Seal of the Company of the Daughters of Charity and the Joy of the Gospel (Click to enlarge the thumbnail above.)

The images I wish to share with you in a series of reflections represents a single base with multiple changing backgrounds. The constant is a heart encompassed by flames, with the cross of the crucified Jesus as the center.

Over the next several weeks this same image of the seal for the Daughters of Charity will be used as the foreground for a series of meditations, a journey of profound reverence towards the God I experience within and around us. What will accompany many of the subsequent images will be sections of text from the APOSTOLIC EXHORTATION EVANGELII GAUDIUM OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS TO THE BISHOPS, CLERGY, CONSECRATED PERSONS AND THE LAY FAITHFUL ON THE PROCLAMATION OF THE GOSPEL IN TODAY’S WORLD.

As for this introductory piece, the original seal “is surrounded by the motto: The Charity of Jesus crucified urges us.

The charity of Jesus Christ crucified, which animates the heart of the Daughter of Charity and sets it on fire, urges her to hasten to the relief of every type of human misery. The imprint of the traditional seal of the Company of the Daughters of Charity is still visible on fragments of sealing wax attached to letter dating from 1643, in harmony with Louise de Marillac’s love of Jesus crucified, which she expressed frequently at the end of her letters.     Given to God for the Service of the Poor: Constitutions and Statutes of the Daughters of Charity 2004 pg. 15

The original art used in the meditations were created digitally on an Ipad, using several different creative art and design apps. The images are composed of layers using free-form and vector drawings. The combinations are endless. This first drawing was the catalyst for those I will present in future meditations.

The motivation for me to create this particular image is the fact that the Eucharist that we proclaim as the centre of our lives as Daughters of Charity is not the Eucharistic sacrifice in a vacuum, isolated from the environment, but our Constitutions point to a path and focus when it goes on to say that this is an ‘ indispensable meeting each day with Christ and their brothers and sisters.’

As we fully participate in the Paschal Mystery during the Eucharist, we also fully participate in our Charism as Daughters of Charity, Caritas Christi Urget Nos…and in thisJesus tells us to “Do This In Remembrance of Me.” Let us profoundly bow to one another in an act of reverence each day.

Who have you reverenced and profoundly bowed to today?




  1. marguerite broderick

    So happy to see Sr Ellen’s artwork here as we begin Lent. Thank you!

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